Home-Start Norfolk Big Lottery Fund - Steve Allman
Emily and her two children Wilfred and Rosalie, one of the many families helped by Home-Start Norfolk (Picture: Home-Start Norfolk)

Home-Start Norfolk, one of my recent evaluation clients, has been in touch to share some great news; the charity has been awarded a grant of almost half a million pounds from the Big Lottery Fund.

The grant will fund a new three-year project called Right From The Start, which will enable 482 families to improve their mental health, reduce isolation and increase their engagement in their child’s learning and development. It’s the first major grant to be awarded to the charity since five local schemes in Norwich, Kings Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Swaffham and Breckland merged earlier this year to form one countywide charity.

I’m particularly pleased that Helen Brown, Funding Manager, has been kind enough to suggest that the external evaluation may have supported the bid, particularly because my evaluation of Home-Start Norfolk was my largest Home-Start evaluation to date. In total, we consulted over 400 key stakeholders about the charity’s impact, including parents, volunteers, funders and referrers. We also managed to navigate the rather unusual occurrence of five schemes merging into one in the middle of an evaluation process!

I’ve heard so many positive stories about the difference Home-Start Norfolk makes in the lives of families with young children so I’m thrilled to hear the charity will be able to reach out to more families in need in the New Year, so well done Home-Start Norfolk!

Home-Start Norfolk is looking for volunteers across the county who might like to join their upcoming training courses and go on to provide friendship and practical support to parents with young children. If you think you can help, please contact the charity directly on 01603 977040 or visit their website for more information.

Helen Brown, Funding Manager, has very kindly written a few words about our work together on the recent impact evaluation:

“We recently secured another Big Lottery Fund grant and Steve’s impactful evaluation undoubtedly helped us to achieve this. Steve began working with Home-Start Norfolk when we were amid a countywide merger. We needed to evaluate the impact of a Big Lottery funded project and undertake a client satisfaction survey for our local authority commissioners.

Steve boldly agreed to combine these two objectives by conducting a countywide survey of our supported families, volunteers and stakeholders. Despite the challenges involved, Steve approached the task with professionalism, patience and sensitivity. The result was a comprehensive and impactful evaluation, evidenced with a combination of powerful qualitative and quantitative information. Steve’s approach to gathering information from our beneficiaries was friendly, empathetic and yet tenacious. His response rates were impressive. We are delighted with the final results and hope to work with him again.”

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